So what was I doing without Carla in Dobson’s? (See "About Last Night...", below).
Fact was, like last time (See previous posting, “Bullfight Bisque,” 9.1.11) I had this typical nighttime gap between buses. There was Dobson’s calling from down Broadway Circle (they’re at 956 Broadway Circle, 619-696-0398) and thirty plus minutes till the stretch limo turns up.
And it looked really warm in there.
And, even though I’d had their delish mussel bisque with the pastry crust on top last September ($8, happy hour, 4-7), I’d always had a hankering to try the other mussel appetizer on the happy hour menu, the “steamed Mediterranean black mussels” in a yellow curry sauce, even though it’s $11, not $8.
Which means with a $2 Red Trolley beer, you’re not going to make it out in ten. Still, gotta try it. It’s just an appetizer, and a couple of hours before Carla and I munch in.
I sit me down at the only spare seat at the bar, at the window end. Alex, the burly barman, comes up and greets me the way he greets everybody, like an old friend.
The two guys next to me, James and Juan, stockbrokers, are just looking for stopgap nosh too.
Juan orders the mussel bisque. James says he’ll help his buddy out by pecking at his bread and butter. Gal named My comes up and says she can help on that score too.
I take a big breath and order the Mediterranean mussels, even though now, in this price range, I see I coulda had baked brie with fruit ($10), Dobson’s bar room burger (with cheddar cheese and smoked bacon, $10), or a calamari steak sandwich and fries for $10.
James and Juan look like part of the new breed of stockbrokers. Grew into the trade in these hard times, plus they’re both totally bilingual, English-Spanish. Tell you, always interesting peeps in this place.
And man oh man, my mussels when they come: to cry for, die for, bake a blackbird pie for. That elixir of winey, curryish broth they’re in…I soak up the whole big whack of bread they place on my white napkin cloth, bit by bit. It’s as important as the mussels.
And I have to take a moment to just think about what Alex, I think it was, told me last time: This spot has been a bar 99 years. The bar counter itself is 98 years old. Was shipped round the horn in 1913. How many elbows, Lord, have taken the weight of their owners’ worrries on this glowing mahogany since then?
Natch I ask the guys if they have any hot stock tips. Just in case I win the lottery tomorrow, heh heh. Their eyes glaze a little, like, isn’t there anything more original to talk about, after work? They must know what I know: with yours truly, the issue is strictly academic.
Then Juan’s mussel bisque arrives, Alex pours a lick of sherry into a hole in the pastry crust, and we get lost in our slurps.
James, My, Juan
Because truly, these messes are that good.
So, profit? Loss? With tip, yes, I’m fifteen bucks poorer when I come running out, heading for stretch limoland. But hey, a good twenty bucks happier. I confess to the lovely Carla an hour later, and promise to bring her back next time I'm liquid, as we stockbrokers say.